Skull Orchard

Posted: December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
TITLE LONK.

Back in college, my room-mates always had a pretty good indicator of when financial aid disbursement happened; there would be a case of beer in the fridge and a stack of new vinyl by the stereo.  Yes, I have always been a music hound, which giave my parents some bemusement; our house, growing up, was never a hotbed of music listening OR playing.

Who knows why it speaks to me so strongly?  There’s some kind of void, and loud rock and roll has always kind of filled it at least partly.

As has been mentioned, using a USB turntable and the simplest possible process, I have been digitizing a pile of old records.  Near as I can figure out, I stopped buying vinyl in late 1987 or early 1988, which makes sense; that would have been when I got my first post-graduation job, and had my first CD player for a couple of months at that point.  Back then, dinosaurs roamed the earth, CDs were still 50% more expensive than vinyl, and Wife Sublime gave me a CD of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway for my birthday, which would have set her back about 40 bucks (3 thousand in today’s dollars).

The better, more crucial parts of the vinyl collection have been replaced either on CD or digitally, for the convenience factor (also, some of those albums were pretty chewed up and needed to be replaced); so the Record Industry has been successful in their ploy to get me to pay for the music more than once!  Well played, you slowly dying soulless motherfuckers!

Here’s an indicator of how long ago I stopped buying the big black CDs:  THERE ARE NO MEKONS RECORDS IN THERE.

So, looking at my music liberry, I have added something like 1800 songs recently, of which maybe 1500 are from vinyl.  Many of these are old classic rock or has-beens, or weird-ass prog rock. But a fair number are also local bands; yes, I have always Supported Local Music.

One of the local albums I processed was The Blend, by Brian Ritchie.  As I was listening to the album, I see that a friend of mine, Ken Baldwin, had played drums on the record.  Although I had met Kenny a couple of times during those days, I came to know him more recently on the professional side, as he had been working for some Real Estate companies on project financing.  We did some preliminary work, but nothing that ever got to the point of making money for either of us.

And then, recently another friend from those days mentioned on FaceHell that Kenny was in the hospital, reportedly with lung cancer.  I hope Ken had been able to get into some kind of health care situation in more recent days, but knowing that he was a musician and an independent consultant lately, I doubt it.

So here we are, on the cusp of another year, watching the Republicans continue to destroy the middle class in order to enrich the top 1% even further, as if buying another yacht with an elevator and a servant staff will fill the yawning void where there used to be a human, while (another) musician is dying

I may not be making a living anymore, but I am not a heartless miserable grasping sonofabitch.  That’s something.

And I have this music, which still fills my heart and mind with anger and energy.  And hope.

Not saying I won’t fold like a house of cards in the upcoming year, but for now, Bring it, 2012.

Friday Musical spew and End-Of-Year Fol-De-Rol.  44,405 tracks, 212 gigs and change.  120 days of music, if I started listening now, 2012 would be a third over before it all finished.  It’s a plan.

1.  The Coroner’s Gambit, The Mountain Goats John Darnielle is one of those artists that still has a day job.  The tension and distress shows in his music.  When I’ve seen him play, he starts with an acoustic guitar, playing more aggressively and with abandon until too many of the strings have broken, then switches to electric and turns it up.   “The enigma Variations/on the stereo” indeed, John, I recently digitized those LPs.

2.  Lay Down And Die, Goodbye, Alice Cooper.  Pretty old early effort.  The mix is terrible, and other than the lyrical content, sounds like nearly any other late-60s psychedelic thrash.

3.  Makeshift, The King of France.  Speaking of psychedelic.  Here’s a band that I have only acquired in digital format (yes I am backing up regularly) and it is subject to the listening habits we got into the tall commenting weeds about recently.  I rarely hear them when I am listening on purpose, but they crop up on random.  As you might be able to tell, random is kind of rare, hearing a band in the din of 40,000 other tracks can be a challenge.  I have to keep working at this.

4.  Maybe The Poet, Bruce Cockburn.  The angry liberal singer-songwriter from north of the border, author of If I Had A Rocket Launcher.  hey, not only did I see this guy and his phenomenal band on the World of Wonders tour, I did load-in/load-out, and follow spot (fucking promoter wouldn’t even comp us t-shirts for the lighting duty!)  I was holding a ladder for the lighting techs while they did sound check, and between songs, chatted a bit with Bruce.  Nice fella, exactly what you would expect from a Canuck.  YES I AM STEREOTYPING.

Anyway, this is a great song, also.  If you like the seasonal stuff, Bruce also did a great and fine Holiday album, him and his guitar (titled, perplexedly enough, Christmas), a few years back.

5.  Tabouli, Los Straitjackets.  The BEST surf-instrumental-alt band working in Mexican wrestling masks, BAR NONE.  I know I will take heat for that opinion, but who can argue the point?  They played at Summerfest, so OF COURSE I saw them.  Fits right in, and they had guest vocalists.  The between song Spanglish banter is hilarious.

6. The Final Cut, Pink Floyd.  To all intents and purposes, a Roger Waters solo album.

Years ago, we had one of our favorite nephews kill himself.  For weeks afterward, we listened to this album nearly nonstop.  In fact, I think I bought the CD at that point, because the cassette I had was in crappy shape.  In any case, I still can’t listen to parts of this album without thinking of Mike.  He never deserved the kind of shit he got in his life, and the family couldn’t figure out what kind of help he needed.

7.  Pissing In A River, Patti Smith.  Well, thankfully; a light song.  Heh.  Substance McGravitas had a funny kind of post about Ms. Smith recently, and her book Just Kids.  Too much time around people like Andy Warhol, I guess.  Her songs are still good though.

8.  Next To You, The Police.  The Police used to be kind of a rocking punky band.  Who the fuck gave them money?

9. From Time To Time, The Stubborn All-Stars.  Third Wave ska?  Fourth wave?  What are we up to?  Dunno, I love ska of all kinds.  The iPod alarm clock woke me up today with, among other things, a song from Something To Do, local ska kids and fine people, all.  We see them several times a year around town, Summerfest and in bars.

10.  People Like Us, Talking Heads.  Wow, we used to listen to  Talking Heads all the time.  I had a graduate design studio that had a project to design a house for David Byrne using the lyrics of the band to establish the parti.  We listened to this disc all the time, and I alienated my fellow studio-mates by covering the sides of my workspace in political cartoons and articles.  Kind of like an analog version of this blog, now that I consider it, but with less cursing.  Well, no, not really.  The cursing is pretty much the same.

11.  Lily Of The Valley, Queen.  Queen are one of the bands that I’ve loved since I was an idiot in high school.  In my vinyl efforts, I skipped right over the Queen section, because I have replaced all those LPs with CDs or digital copies.  Freddie Mercury should have lived forever, but at least he lived like a fucking rock star before he went, even before he WAS a rock star.

12. Winterlong, The Pixies.  Pixies covering a Neil Young song?  O MY yes, please.  Saw them at the Eagles club with Zelmo, on one of their last pre-reunion tours.  Wow loud.  And also at the Amphitheater, on one of those reunion tours.  Opening for Pearl Jam?  something like that.  For a weirdo, I really expected Black Francis to ramble on between songs MUCH more.  The guitarist, Joey Santiago, is responsible for the music direction on the HILARIOUS black comedy Weeds.

13.  Dog Years, Rush.  One for BRANDO and LAURA, who have exquisite taste in hard rock like I do.  Actually, this is one of those songs where Neil Peart pushes the metaphor WAY too far.  RAWKS anyway.  HALPING JENNIFER.

PINKO!!! LET ME COMMENT!!  LET VON COMMENT!!!MOAR Halping Jennifer:

14.  Big Green, Neil Young.  Heh.  weird.  I mention Neil Young and Pearl Jam, and here is a song from Mirrorball, which as any fule kno (even upside downies) Young recorded WITH Pearl Jam.  Well, it SHOULD have worked.  Crazy Horse is still the best band to back Neil Young, though (and I HAVE seen that).  Yes, it was a barn show, which I usually avoid, but Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Sonic Youth, and Social Distortion?  IT MIGHT GET LOUD.

15.  Pon de Floor, Major Lazer.  W.T.F.?  Yanno, maybe I have overdone this music thing.  In any case, I am adding one more, because I DO NOT know where the fuck this one came from.

16. Green, Another Sunny Day.  Well, a little strummy twee Brit-pop is a pretty good way to end this one.  I know there are SOME PEOPLE who don’t like this kind of thing, but since they don’t hang out here, I ain’t worrying about it, you know?  I like it fine, fine indeed.

Well, for a Friday Musical Spew [End of Year], that post had a lot of death in it.  Maybe it is like lancing a boil, and I can get rid of the bad?  I know, not likely, but in any case, now I need a drink and it’s only 10 AM.

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Comments
  1. Jennifer says:

    So here we are, on the cusp of another year, watching the Republicans continue to destroy the middle class in order to enrich the top 1% even further, as if buying another yacht with an elevator and a servant staff will fill the yawning void where there used to be a human, while (another) musician is dying

    So they try to fill their voids with yachts while killing musicians… and you fill your void with music, made by musicians… this isn’t going to end well, is it.

    Also, I do not recognize that blog with pink sidebars!

    I think I stopped buying vinyl a few years earlier. I think the last one I remember buying was Eric Clapton’s, “Behind the Sun”. I ventured into CD’s around ’88. I do remember thinking that it sucked that I would have to re-buy most everything I loved… that was if it was even available.

  2. Laura says:

    I’m quite impressed with all of your Canadian content .. eh? 🙂
    I also find your stereotypical assessment of our “species” quite spot on as well! We are VERY kind people. (and drunk mostly but, oh well).

    There’s a man in our town with the last name Cockburn. I used to work at a bar when I was younger ( I know.. how cool am I eh? Pretty flippin cool I’d say..) anyhow.. This “Cockburn” was there. He gave me his credit card and I said “Thank you Mr. COCK-BURN (pronounced COCK-BURN)”. He said.. “It’s pronounced Coe-burn.” I said.. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize the “ck” was silent!”

    Sigh..
    Yeah.
    That’s my funny story for today.

    ((Hugs))
    Laura

  3. Whale Chowder says:

    Right there witcha on the not much music around the house growing up. Being a Catlick (recovering) though, I was youngest of six spread over 21 years so I listened to what my older brothers listened to, and that was KJR, the local AM pop station in the ’60s.

    I didn’t discover FM until I was a high school senior, far at the ass-end of the ’70s. I had much catching up to do in college, both on the musical and debauchery fronts. I made time best I could, yanno? I don’t think I was cheated.

    I have a couple hundred records, most of which haven’t been converted because it takes me too long to clean ’em up. The music I really want, I’ll spend the $5 to buy from Amazon and take the hours with my family instead.

    Also: I doubt Scott Walker actually blows goats. Goats have better taste than that.

  4. Laura says:

    And for the record… I did know how to really pronounce his last name.
    I was just trying to get him going… 😛

  5. (and drunk mostly but, oh well).

    I’m a Canadian!

  6. Also: I doubt Scott Walker actually blows goats. Goats have better taste than that.

    Well, I often say that conservatives don’t seem to be able to understand the concept of CONSENT.

  7. fish says:

    Well, for a Friday Musical Spew [End of Year], that post had a lot of death in it.

    Just putting a stake into 2011. It will be all Katrina and the Waves come 2012 (or 2112 for Jennifer).

  8. M. Bouffant says:

    Chowder: ♪KJR/Seattle/Channel 95!”♬

  9. Official count this week: I’ve seen 10 of the 16 in the list, if you count David Byrne as Talking Heads and Roger Waters as Pink Floyd, although I do NOT count Queen with Paul Rodgers as Queen.

    Those are teh RULES, people.

  10. watching the Republicans continue to destroy the middle class in order to enrich the top 1% even further,

    With the active aid of the D.N.C. and Obama, he added, angrily.
    ~

  11. Yes thudner, and even though the Democrats are no more than Wheel Dogs in this mess, where do we turn?

    Perhaps we can get Laura and Geddy to bail us out.

  12. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    And then, recently another friend from those days mentioned on FaceHell that Kenny was in the hospital, reportedly with lung cancer. I hope Ken had been able to get into some kind of health care situation in more recent days, but knowing that he was a musician and an independent consultant lately, I doubt it.

    Damn to hell anyone who criticizes a national health care program as “against freedom” and “job killing”.

  13. America refuse to take care of her artists and musicians ahead of ‘people’ like Trump, Hilton, or Kardasshian.

    WHY do I want to live here, again?

  14. a national health care program as “against freedom” and “job killing”.

    What we’ve got now is a “people killing” system. The morons who yammered about “OMG Death Panels”? we’ve got ’em, had em for years. It’s called Health Insurance Companies.

    If I believed in life after death, I would also have to believe that nearly every one of the fuckers working for health insurance companies who have ever denied care would end up burning.

  15. herr doktor bimler says:

    Goats have better taste than that.

    In a curry, for instance.

  16. Smut clyde is sentenced to visiting Milwaukee and drinking our locally brewed absinthe and whisky.

  17. herr doktor bimler says:

    On the basis of the t-shirt, I’m guessing that ZRM is second from the right in the Hunt Emerson picture.

  18. Who is Emerson, and why are we hunting him, again?

  19. He’s in the lake with Palmer.

    Need ye ask more?
    ~

  20. Nice one, thudner.

    I guess we’re fishing emerson, then.

    But who is Powell?

  21. herr doktor bimler says:

    Who is Emerson, and why are we hunting him, again?
    Philistine.

  22. That’s as may be, but a lonk would be helpful for the straights, doktor smut.

  23. Laura says:

    Perhaps we can get Laura and Geddy to bail us out.

    I’m more an Alex Lifeson girl.
    IF I was sleeping with someone from the band, it would probably be him.

  24. Jennifer says:

    Goats have better taste than that.

    In a curry, for instance.

    Corned goat is also quite tasty.

  25. herr doktor bimler says:

    Suffice to say that Hunt Emerson draws like Terry Pratchett writes.

  26. Still don’t see a lonk there, Bimler.

  27. herr doktor bimler says:

    Perfectly good lonk at 5:47 comment.

  28. ZRM is second from the right in the Hunt Emerson picture.

    Yah. you’ve confused a fair number of people there, lonks notwithstanding.

  29. please be more more explicit, doktor. This is not Riddled.

  30. herr doktor bimler says:

    please be more more explicit, doktor

    Removing trousers…

    (1) ZRM has illustrated this post with a Hunt Emerson drawing, an illustration for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
    (2) One of the decomposing corpses in the drawing is wearing a ‘Bob Dylan’ concert t-shirt, causing onlookers to suspect that it is actually ZRM in person.
    (3) To be helping everyone (not just Jennifer) I linked to Hunt Emerson’s website in this comment.

  31. OK, that was an EXCELLENT response. Milwaukee distillery absinthe?

    No? then don’t mind if I do….

  32. also, put your trousers back on. It’s not that we care that much, but the goats are kind of hungry.

  33. it’s for your own safety, you see.

  34. Von says:

    Great great great list.
    I just LOVE Los Straight Jackets.

  35. also, I lonk the fact that I made the Smut Doktor behave.

  36. herr doktor bimler says:

    No Christmas Ale for ZRM!!

  37. regardless, I am processing a disc of HORRID ska called, near as I can tell, “The Potato Five featuring Floyd Lloyd Seivreight Meet Laurel Aitken”. I think I am one of the five people who actually bought this LP.

    skippedoo.

    [edit. Yes it is awesome. Yes I am drunk. Why do you ask?]

  38. further. I have NO IDEA how I am going to label these tracks.

  39. blue girl says:

    in late 1987 or early 1988, which makes sense; that would have been when I got my first post-graduation job

    AM I OLDER THAN YOU?!

    This will not stand!!

  40. blue girl says:

    Freddie Mercury should have lived forever, but at least he lived like a fucking rock star before he went, even before he WAS a rock star.

    Amen, (little) brother!

  41. Post COLLIDGE graduation, Beege.

  42. Jennifer says:

    He’s older than all of us, BG… Maybe even older than Dr Splainer Bimler.

  43. blue girl says:

    He’s older than all of us, BG

    Phew. All is right with the world again. Glad all that respect I’ve been paying to him for years hasn’t been wasted!

    Post COLLIDGE graduation Yeah, I knew that’s what you meant. But I trust Jennifer that what she says is true!

  44. Yes, I’m ancient.

    When did you give me respect, BG?

  45. blue girl says:

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is what I gave to you from me.

    Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me

  46. Start drinking already, did you BG?

  47. herr doktor bimler says:

    Maybe even older than Dr Splainer Bimler.
    UNPOSSIBLE.

    Post COLLIDGE graduation, Beege.
    ZRM misspelled ‘collage’.

  48. herr doktor bimler says:

    Come to think of it, Owd Gaffertape Bouffant has a year or two on most of us.

  49. blue girl says:

    There’s some OLDER than Zombie?!?! Is that even possible?!?!

  50. Ol Man [EDIT[, he just keeps on gnawin’…
    ~

  51. Oh look, I’ve been put into zombie moderation.

    HARRUMPH!
    ~

  52. t-e-s-t-i-n-g

    Obama

    u-n-t-e-s-t-i-n-g
    ~

  53. t-e-s-t-i-n-g

    nutkin

    u-n-t-e-s-t-i-n-g
    ~

  54. My therapist recommended it, thundra.

  55. herr doktor bimler says:

    Zombie is moderate in all things except alcohol consumption.

  56. thdnr is starting the new year by triggering me maliciously, hdb.

  57. Jennifer says:

    Happy New Year, ZRM!! 2012… the year of the blogging compound!

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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